Steve Spurrier is no stranger to Tennessee and Neyland Stadium.

On Saturday, it’ll be his 12th time bringing a team to Knoxville to face the Volunteers and his fourth trip with South Carolina.

“It’s always exciting for our guys to go up to Rocky Top and play the Tennessee Vols,” Spurrier said. “A team with tremendous tradition and history of football. It’s back in my home state of East Tennessee. It’s always a thrill to go in that stadium and compete in the game.”

Despite Carolina’s top-15 ranking and the disparity in the team’s records, Spurrier said he expects a hard-fought game that won’t be decided until the fourth quarter.

“They’ve played some good halves against the top teams in the country but haven’t been able to finish those games, but we know they’ll be ready for us,” he said. “We’re the type of team that hasn’t clobbered anyone much. It will be a down-to-the-wire ball game similar to Mississippi State and our other games that have been close.”

For the first time all year, Carolina will be without its workhorse tailback Marcus Lattimore, who suffered a season-ending knee injury against Mississippi State on Oct. 15. The sophomore accounted for 1,000 total yards and 11 touchdowns through South Carolina’s first seven games.

It will also be only the second career start on the road for sophomore quarterback Connor Shaw, who became the full-time starter after Stephen Garcia was dismissed from the program on Oct. 11. On the year, Shaw is 50-of-78 for 495 yards and five touchdowns with two interceptions.

Without both Lattimore and Garcia for the first time, the Gamecocks’ offense will look different Saturday night against the Vols.

“You play according to how they play defense and get the ball out of your hand quickly,” Spurrier said. “(Shaw’s) got to think quickly and know where all his receivers are. He’s getting better at that, and I think he has a chance to get better as he continues playing.”

The receiver he’ll look to most is junior Alshon Jeffery, a 6-foot-4, 229-pound future NFL wide-out, who has 30 receptions for 451 yards and five touchdowns.

“He’s a great player,” UT coach Derek Dooley said. “If you don’t believe it, just go play one-on-one with him and let them throw a jump ball. He’s a different kind of guy because he’s so big. He’s got great ball skills down the field, and if you find yourself in a one-on-one matchup he can just body you up and it gets tough.”

The Gamecocks’ defense will look to make it tough for UT quarterback Justin Worley, making his first career start.

“This kid’s a winner, there’s no question about that,” Spurrier said of the true freshman. “Our defensive line has to play well. We need constant pressure on him and hands in his face. Tennessee hasn’t been a good running team, although they have to run. We have to stop the run first and stop the pass like all good defenses do.”

Defensively for Carolina, it begins up front with its line led by defensive ends Melvin Ingram, Devin Taylor and Jadeveon Clowney.

“They are very active and disruptive. They’re hard to block,” Dooley said. “Their defense has created, I think, 24 turnovers and they really have a way of disrupting offenses. When you have a D-line like that, it gives you a chance.”

Kickoff is set for 7:15 p.m. EST on ESPN2.